•  217
    Weak Location
    Dialectica 73 (1-2): 149-181. 2019.
    Recently, many philosophers have been interested in using locative relations to clarify and pursue debates in the metaphysics of material objects. Most begin with the relation of exact location. But what if we begin instead with the relation known as weak location – the relation an object x bears to any region not completely bereft of x? I explore some of the consequences of pursuing this route for issues including coincidence, extended simples, and endurance, with an eye to evaluating the prosp…Read more
  •  443
    Chance, determinism, and unsettledness
    Philosophical Studies 176 (3): 781-802. 2019.
    A previously unrecognised argument against deterministic chance is introduced. The argument rests on the twin ideas that determined outcomes are settled, while chancy outcomes are unsettled, thus making cases of determined but chancy outcomes impossible. Closer attention to tacit assumptions about settledness makes available some principled lines of resistance to the argument for compatibilists about chance and determinism. Yet the costs of maintaining compatibilism may be higher with respect to…Read more
  •  804
    I argue that any broadly dispositional analysis of probability will either fail to give an adequate explication of probability, or else will fail to provide an explication that can be gainfully employed elsewhere (for instance, in empirical science or in the regulation of credence). The diversity and number of arguments suggests that there is little prospect of any successful analysis along these lines.
  •  119
    In Paul Humphreys (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science, Oxford University Press. pp. 417-439. 2016.
    Rather than entailing that a particular outcome will occur, many scientific theories only entail that an outcome will occur with a certain probability. Because scientific evidence inevitably falls short of conclusive proof, when choosing between different theories it is standard to make reference to how probable the various options are in light of the evidence. A full understanding of probability in science needs to address both the role of probabilities in theories, or chances, as well as the r…Read more
  •  857
    Deterministic Chance
    Noûs 45 (2). 2011.
    I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to…Read more
  •  339
    Is the Past a Matter of Chance?
    In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry, Oxford University Press. pp. 126-158. 2014.
    This volume sets the agenda for future work on time and chance, which are central to theemerging sub-field of metaphysics of science.
  •  220
    Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings (edited book)
    Routledge. 2010.
    _Philosophy of Probability: Contemporary Readings_ is the first anthology to collect essential readings in this important area of philosophy. Featuring the work of leading philosophers in the field such as Carnap, Hájek, Jeffrey, Joyce, Lewis, Loewer, Popper, Ramsey, van Fraassen, von Mises, and many others, the book looks in depth at the following key topics: subjective probability and credence probability updating: conditionalization and reflection Bayesian confirmation theory classical, logic…Read more
  •  1073
    Location and perdurance
    In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 5, Oxford Univerity Press. pp. 53-94. 2010.
    Recently, Cody Gilmore has deployed an ingenious case involving backwards time travel to highlight an apparent conflict between the theory that objects persist by perduring, and the thesis that wholly coincident objects are impossible. However, careful attention to the concepts of location and parthood that Gilmore’s cases involve shows that the perdurantist faces no genuine objection from these cases, and that the perdurantist has a number of plausible and dialectically appropriate ways to avoi…Read more
  •  67
    A note on Dolby and Gull on radar time and the twin 'paradox'
    American Journal of Physics 73 (10). 2005.
    Recently a suggestion has been made that standard textbook representations of hypersurfaces of simultaneity for the travelling twin in the twin 'paradox' are incorrect. This suggestion is false: the standard textbooks are in agreement with a proper understanding of the relativity of simultaneity.
  •  27
    The essays that constitute this dissertation explore three strategies for understanding the role of modality in philosophical accounts of propensities, randomness, and causation. In Chapter 1, I discuss how the following essays are to be considered as illuminating the prospects for these strategies, which I call reductive essentialism, subjectivism and pragmatism. The discussion is framed within a survey of approaches to modality more broadly construed. ;In Chapter 2, I argue that any broadly di…Read more
  •  341
    Duration in relativistic spacetime
    In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 5, Oxford University Press. pp. 113-17. 2010.
    In ‘Location and Perdurance’ (2010), I argued that there are no compelling mereological or sortal grounds requiring the perdurantist to distinguish the molecule Abel from the atom Abel in Gilmore’s original case (2007). The remaining issue Gilmore originally raised concerned the ‘mass history’ of Adam and Abel, the distribution of ‘their’ mass over spacetime. My response to this issue was to admit that mass histories needed to be relativised to a way of partitioning the location of Adam/Abel, bu…Read more
  •  872
    Persistence, Vagueness, and Location
    Journal of Philosophy 113 (10): 507-532. 2016.
    This article discusses two arguments in favor of perdurance. The first is Sider’s argument from vagueness, “one of the most powerful” in favor of perdurantism. I make the observation that endurantists have principled grounds to claim that the argument is unsound, at least if endurance is formulated in locative rather than mereological terms. Having made this observation, I use it to emphasize a somewhat neglected difference between endurantists and perdurantists with respect to their views on ma…Read more
  •  662
    Randomness Is Unpredictability
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (4): 749-790. 2005.
    The concept of randomness has been unjustly neglected in recent philosophical literature, and when philosophers have thought about it, they have usually acquiesced in views about the concept that are fundamentally flawed. After indicating the ways in which these accounts are flawed, I propose that randomness is to be understood as a special case of the epistemic concept of the unpredictability of a process. This proposal arguably captures the intuitive desiderata for the concept of randomness; a…Read more
  •  898
    Mathematics and conceptual analysis
    Synthese 161 (1). 2008.
    Gödel argued that intuition has an important role to play in mathematical epistemology, and despite the infamy of his own position, this opinion still has much to recommend it. Intuitions and folk platitudes play a central role in philosophical enquiry too, and have recently been elevated to a central position in one project for understanding philosophical methodology: the so-called ‘Canberra Plan’. This philosophical role for intuitions suggests an analogous epistemology for some fundamental pa…Read more
  •  595
    Causal structuralism, dispositional actualism, and counterfactual conditionals
    In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes, Oxford University Press. pp. 65--99. 2009.
    Dispositional essentialists are typically committed to two claims: that properties are individuated by their causal role (‘causal structuralism’), and that natural necessity is to be explained by appeal to these causal roles (‘dispositional actualism’). I argue that these two claims cannot be simultaneously maintained; and that the correct response is to deny dispositional actualism. Causal structuralism remains an attractive position, but doesn’t in fact provide much support for dispositional e…Read more
  •  1312
    Probability and Randomness
    In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy, Oxford University Press. pp. 440-459. 2016.
    Early work on the frequency theory of probability made extensive use of the notion of randomness, conceived of as a property possessed by disorderly collections of outcomes. Growing out of this work, a rich mathematical literature on algorithmic randomness and Kolmogorov complexity developed through the twentieth century, but largely lost contact with the philosophical literature on physical probability. The present chapter begins with a clarification of the notions of randomness and probability…Read more
  •  3967
    This is a textbook covering the basics of formal logic and elementary metatheory. Its distinguishing feature is that it has more emphasis on metatheory than comparable introductory textbooks. It was originally written to accompany lectures in an introductory to intermediate logic course at the University of Oxford, but it is designed to be used independently.
  •  73
  •  266
    Recently, Jim Stone has argued that counterpart theory is incompatible with the existence of temporal parts. I demonstrate that there is no such incompatibility.
  •  525
    A ‘might’ counterfactual is a sentence of the form ‘If it had been the case that A, it might have been the case that C’. Recently, John Hawthorne has argued that the truth of many ‘might’ counterfactuals precludes the truth of most ‘would’ counterfactuals. I examine the semantics of ‘might’ counterfactuals, with one eye towards defusing this argument, but mostly with the aim of understanding this interesting class of sentences better.
  •  241
    Chance versus Randomness
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010.
    This article explores the connection between objective chance and the randomness of a sequence of outcomes. Discussion is focussed around the claim that something happens by chance iff it is random. This claim is subject to many objections. Attempts to save it by providing alternative theories of chance and randomness, involving indeterminism, unpredictability, and reductionism about chance, are canvassed. The article is largely expository, with particular attention being paid to the details of …Read more
  •  541
    Pragmatic causation
    In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited, Oxford University Press. 2003.
    Russell famously argued that causation should be dispensed with. He gave two explicit arguments for this conclusion, both of which can be defused if we loosen the ties between causation and determinism. I show that we can define a concept of causation which meets Russell’s conditions but does not reduce to triviality. Unfortunately, a further serious problem is implicit beneath the details of Russell’s arguments, which I call the causal exclusion problem. Meeting this problem involves deploying a…Read more
  •  1991
    true (but not conversely); if someone is lucky in truly believing \x{D835}\x{DC5D}, their belief is not knowledge; if someone truly believes that \x{D835}\x{DC5D}, but cannot justify their belief with evidence, it is not knowledge; and so on
  •  297
    A causal theory of chance? (review)
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (4): 883-890. 2004.
    An essay review of Richard Johns "A Theory of Physical Probability" (University of Toronto Press, 2002). Forthcoming in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.
  •  460
    Telling Tales
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt2). 2007.
    Utterances within the context of telling fictional tales that appear to be assertions are nevertheless not to be taken at face value. The present paper attempts to explain exactly what such 'pseudo-assertions' are, and how they behave. Many pseudo-assertions can take on multiple roles, both within fictions and in what I call 'participatory criticism' of a fiction, especially when they occur discourse-initially. This fact, taken together with problems for replacement accounts of pseudo-assertion …Read more
  •  233
    Multiple location defended
    Philosophical Studies 173 (8): 2215-2231. 2016.
    The notion of multiple location plays an important role in the characterization of endurantism. Several authors have recently offered cases intended to demonstrate the incoherence of multiple location. I argue that these cases do not succeed in making multiple location problematic. Along the way, several crucial issues about multiple location and its use by endurantists are clarified.